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San Francisco 14, Wiener 7, Us 5, Sarah 4, Mr. Cohen 2, Mr. Evans 2, Scott Wiener 2, Tim Cohen 2, David Chiu 2, Deborah Bennedict 2, Jim Lazarus 2, Ag 1, City 1, Mr. Whitaker 1, Derek Evans 1, Eric Mar 1, Mar 1, Loop 1, Unbrideled 1, Unit 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    November 21, 2012
    9:00 - 9:30pm PST  

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>> the meeting will come to order. good afternoon, everyone. it's monday, november 19, 2012. this is the land use and economic development committee of the san francisco board of supervisors. my name is eric mar, i'm the chair of the committee. to my left is supervisor scott wiener. supervisor maly a cohen is absent today. our clerk is derek evans. mr. evans, can you please give us the announcements? >> yes. please make sure all electronic devices are off, copies submitted to the clerk. items acted upon today will appear on december 4, 2012 san francisco board of supervisors agenda unless stated. >> thank you. we have six items on the agenda today. but i've been notified by supervisor olague, item number
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5, she has urged us to continue that to item on the call of the chair. that is the resolution to remove all management proposals and activities derived from the sharp park conceptual restoration alternatives report's alternative a18 from the environmental impact report for the san francisco recreation and park department's significant natural resource areas management plan, and to consider proposals and alternatives for the future of sharp park golf course through a separate and complete california environmental quality act review process. so, even though i'll move to continue that to the call of the chair, we still will hear public comment on that item. and my understanding is that item number 6, improved taxi service quarterly report, supervisor wiener's item, that is potentially going to be continued as well. >> for one week. >> for one week. and because items number 1 and 2 are sponsored by our president david chiu and he's tied up in a gao committee meeting right now, hopefully without objection, we can jump to item number 31st. so, without objection, mr. evans, please call item number 3. >> item number 3, [inaudible]
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ordinance amending the san francisco planning code by: 1, adding section 318 to put a cap on the number of efficiency dwelling units, as defined in the building code, that can be constructed with reduced square footage unless the units are group housing, affordable housing, or student housing; 2, amending section 135 (d) and adding section 135.4 to impose open space and common space requirements on efficiency dwelling units with reduced square footage; and 3, making environmental findings, planning code section 302 findings, and findings of consistency with the general plan and the priority policies of planning code section 101.1 -- with reduced square footage. >> thank you. and the sponsor supervisor scott wiener. >> thank you, mr. chairman. today is planning code legislation to the efficiency unit legislation that has already been heard in this committee that other legislation which is at the board of supervisors on tomorrow's agenda is a building code amendment. the companion legislation before us today is a planning code amendment. this legislation is being considered as a committee report, that it can be heard tomorrow as well, and dovetail in terms of timing with the underlying building code amendment. specifically, this legislation before us today is an amendment to the planning code that would establish a cap on the number of smaller efficiency units for the planning department entitled before a study and re-authorization would be
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required. the cap is set at 375 market rate, smaller efficiency units, after approximately 3 25 smaller efficiency units are entitled by the planning department. the department would be required to conduct a study so we can better understand how these units are being used. over the past several months i have worked with others, including board president david chiu, and various community organizations including the council of community housing organization, community housing partnership, the housing rights committee, and [speaker not understood], to develop this compromise piece of legislation. i'm happy to report that we have reached a compromise to allow for the program to proceed. i will also note that the cap does not include student housing, group housing, and affordable housing.
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and then i also want to note that today i am offering some amendmentses to the planning code administration. before i have those distributed, those amendments, i will describe them. the amendments basically speak to the reporting requirement from the planning department as well as to the common open space requirements. in terms of reporting, the amendments before us today include language that articulates what at a minimum the report on the efficiency units should include. these reporting data points are sales and rental placing, a map showing the geographic distribution of the units, data comparing smaller efficiency unit production with stated unit mixed goals and adopted area plans. and a comparison against the regional housing needs assessment or rema goals. regarding the common open space
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requirement, the amendment to the legislation will require at a minimum 10 square feet of common open space for each smaller efficiency unit as defined in the legislation. while i'm supportive of this trial with the initial cap of 375 units, i do believe that these smaller efficiency units can be one of the many solutions to help address the housing affordability crisis that we are experiencing here in san francisco. san francisco has a desperate need for housing across all income levels and particularly in the work force, student housing and other populations. the underlying building code amendment, which is the companion legislation to the item before us today, promotes in my view housing affordability by design, reduced costs for conception are passed on in the form of low rents. and this can be done without subsidies. while we do have a very robust subsidized affordable housing program in san francisco, of
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which i am extremely supportive, it is not by itself enough. the smaller units will be an attractive and affordable option for people entering the work force, for students, for transition-age youth, for the formerly homeless, for seniors, and for various kind of housing, market rate or not market rate. as many as 40% of san francisco households are single people. this could be a great and much more affordable option for them. we know that rents are through the roof now. a one-bedroom apartment in many places of the city is running for 2,500 or even $3,000 a month. large studios are often running for $2,000 or more a month. and many people simply cannot afford these rents. we have a lot of people who are living in roommate situations and sometimes cramming in more people than they probably should into some of these roommate situationses. and i believe people should have the option, if they want,
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to live on their own in a smaller unit with their own kitchen and with their own bathroom. these units will also support a growing national and international trend of what we call cooperative housing where people have smaller private spaces, but share larger centralized common areas in buildings. we're seeing this with various kinds of housing, including senior housing. mr. chairman, i respectfully request that the committee support today in forwarding this legislation today board. and, mr. chairman, if you don't have any comments, we can -- does planning have a report? >> yes. >> so, we'll hear from planning. >> thank you, good afternoon, chairman swedener, sophie hewett planning staff. [speaker not understood] this past thursday, november 15th. at the hearing after public comment, and fairly robust discussion, the commission
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passed resolution 18 747 recommending that the board of supervisors approve the proposed ordinance with several modifications. there has been some confusion since last thursday's hearing so i'd like to take this opportunity to clarify that the commission voted to support the proposed ordinance with a cap of 375 units on efficiency dwelling units. the commission's recommendation was to refine the concept of a cap and that was based on a lengthy discussion about when micro units would count toward the numeric cap, would it be at the time of entitlement, would it be at the time of construction, or perhaps at the certificate of occupancy. further, the commission discussed the reporting requirement and recommended that the board of supervisors clarify the content and the timing of the report [speaker not understood] amendments address that concern. the second modification proposed by the planning commission was that the board not add a new definition to the planning code.
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rather, that the new common and open space requirements should refer to the definition of efficiency dwelling unit used in the building code. third, the recommendation from the commission was that the maximum requirement for interior common space be replaced with the minimum requirement of 10 square feet of common interior space per efficiency dwelling unit and i see that you've added that into your amendment. and then lastly, it was a minor suggestion that the proposed new interior common space requirement be removed from proposed planning code section 135.4 to the planning code section 140. and i understand that that change has been made as well. that concludes my presentation and available for questions. thank you. >> thank you, ms. hayward. okay. mr. chairman, at this point may we open up for public comment? public comment will be two minutes. >> because of the number of items and speakers on other items, two minutes. >> and i have exactly two
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public comment cards on this legislation. i suspect there are more commenters than that, so, please fill out a card. i'll call the two that i have. jamie whit -- whitaker and deborah bennedict. hello, supervisors, my name is deborah bennedict. i'm a housing advocate for seniors and disabled through the senior disabled action housing collaborative. i am here to ask for you to please consider the fact that seniors are not actually the target market for these units and they are not appropriate for seniors. there might be homeless seniors, perhaps, that can use these, but we already have the tenderloin and we already have this development. as the supervisor mentioned, this is against the studies,
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the regional studies for housing needs and the housing needs as proven by a study group is for low-income family housing, not for single individual housing. the tenderloin and lots of low-income housing developers are focused on that type of housing. so, if, in fact, this is for, as the people on the radio said today, successfully used in other cities specifically for young beginning workers, please remove any reference to seniors because, in fact, seniors will not be in this housing. and to pre-he tend or pimp the housing of seniors and the disabled in saying that these 220 square feet is appropriate for a person in a wheelchair with a walker, or with a cane and helpful person is actually adequate needs to be removed in any reference from this ordinance * or from this
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proposal from the planning department. seniors will be living there, not only people that are beginning workers and low-income. please don pimp the seniors and disabled and say this housing is appropriate for them because in fact it's not. a very small population that is not -- that is in decent health at present would be able to be here, but not long-term. >> and before we get to mr. whitaker, i'll call a few more cards. jim lazarus, sarah short, [speaker not understood], and linda chap man. good morning or afternoon. my name is jamie whitaker and i live in the south of market district in the rincon neighborhood. i live in a 43 2 square foot studio the past six years and i can tell you it's challenging to want to spend a lot of time
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in such a small space. and i find myself at dolores park quite often, golden gate park to get that breathing room that i think all human beings really need to have a healthy physical and mental state. the concern i have, cap or no cap, i just don't believe that that sized unit belongs in an area that isn't an established residential area like south of market. south of market has over 40,000 residents and 40 acres of parks managed publicly, not by cbd but recreation and parks. that's 1/10 of an acre per thousand residents as it stands now managed by recreation and parks. the green envy report produced in 2007 by the former neighborhood parks council has very well detailed. district 3 and district 6 are yearning, aching for more green space. and without that green space,
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i'm not sure it's humane to have such small units in those spaces. now, maybe along the jay church line, maybe along the l, the m, the t, the kt, maybe that's the spot for these efficiency units where there's parks and stuff. i do have an overhead that i want to show. the congestion in south of market has created a health problem, an air pollution health problem. locating most of our affordable housing these days, 35% of the 3,000 units being built in transbay will be in this area where the particulate matter in the air is already unsafe levels. we need congestion pricing first. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker. supervisors, jim lazarus, san francisco chamber of commerce. we support this legislation. we believe it is an appropriate experiment, if you would, on smaller size efficiency units. the housing needs of all in the
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1920s and 30s, the studio apartments that are so preach leapt in the tenderloin, nob hill, pacific heights, when those apartments were built was a new form of housing for individuals that leaving home for the first time. and if we have an opportunity now because as you said, supervisor wiener, we have a lot of multi-bedroom units that are not being occupied by families. any of us with young adult children know that they're living 3 or 4 to a unit in san francisco to make it affordable. but they're taking units out of supply for families because there's 3 or 4 unrelated adults living in an apartment. if we can move some of that into units like this and if this experiment works and they are attractive and people will occupy them, i think that will reduce some of the burden we have on existing multi-family homes and new multi-family apartments, multi-unit, multi-bedroom apartments. that will be developed in the future. so, it is an experiment worth
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pursuing and we urge the board to adopt it. and i would also like to congratulate supervisor mar on a tremendous victory in his reelection. >> thank you. i, too, would like to thank and congratulate supervisor mar. and i would like to thank supervisor wiener for working on this kind of legislation. the biggest concerns that were expressed in cfsf land use committee were about family housing, that maybe this would free up family housing because a lot of people are living in places that are all split up. it's not even like communes or friends back in the '60s, but people have a little room with a lock on the door and they don't know each other in many cases. a concern was whether there is going to be sufficient common area. i think that really needs to be looked to. there is a provision now for common area. it does say it could be an exercise room. it could be a kitchen or something like that. there really needs to be lounge
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area. at ucsf where i spend a lot of time, they have wonderful lounge areas. people are living in dorm rooms, but they have all kinds of open common space that they can go to, even if there can't be exterior space, there certainly can be interior common area. i want to say, too, this is not really a radical experiment at all. the single marketplace was where people lived in san francisco. people i lived with, people who are my friends, my brother and others, people whom i know even now still live in those. apparently what happened in the '70s was when the mental hospitals closed and people moved into those hotels and changed the atmosphere of them, they began to be thought of as an inferior form of housing for poor people. this is the place that people whom i knew who were single lived. and either they were places that had food downstairs like a residence club or they ate out in restaurants. and the size, i don't see being really -- the friends in my building, we had several where i lived in a co-op, we had
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several of these for rent. they were well used by older people or students, variously. there are others on nob hill and entire buildings on nob hill, as long as they are not taking up vast areas of land where families actually could be built. good afternoon, supervisor wiener and mar. i'm sarah short with the housing rights committee of san francisco. we are one of the organizations that in coalition with others raised some flags about this proposal in its original form to amend the building code. and those included some unintended consequences and just general sort of fears we had about what this might look like. it's micro units proliferates in our city and particularly we're concentrated in areas such as south of market. that included the potential for escalating rents in the
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neighborhood, displacing families who currently live there. a drain on public resources with the increased density, et cetera. and i'm happy to say that we brought those concerns to supervisor wiener and were able to sit down and produce this compromise proposal. i'm grateful to the supervisor for hearing our concerns and working with us to craft something that i think we can all live with. what this does is allow us to try this experiment. maybe it will really be helpful in serving a certain market niche. maybe it will relax the pressure on the housing market. but in case those horrible things that we dreaded happening were to occur, it will not happen in a large scale with a large impact on our communities. and it was just too much of a risk to go whole hog and unbrideled on this. so, thank you very much for,
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again to supervisor, and to all my housing advocate partners for sitting down and working this one out. i think this was a really responsible way to do public policy. thanks. good afternoon, supervisors. my name is angelica [speaker not understood], and i'm with the south of market community action network [speaker not understood]. along with sarah, we [speaker not understood] was an organization that raised a lot of concerns about building efficiency units without a cap because of numerous concern aside from what sarah talked about. a previous speaker talked about there was a lot of increase in the south of market. the population increase, over 30%. we want to make sure that there's adequate analysis and thinking and really planning around the different amenities
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and public infrastructure that the neighborhoods need when there is population increase in the area along with traffic congestion. and also we had a lot of concern around how this is going to impact the affordable housing. we're still not convinced that this might alleviate people from not doing roommates because a lot of people does roommates because they want to keep the rents under 800. a lot of students inform us they cannot use their tuition fees or tuition things to housing. they actually still have to get a job. so, there is a need for affordable housing for families, students, seniors and everyone. therefore, that's why we worked diligently with our allies and you supervisors to ensure that we have a cap to really see and analyze that this is a need.
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and we really appreciate you hearing our concerns and we look forward to working with the planning staff to actually look over those analysis. thank you again and we hope to -- that you support this legislation. >> thank you. i don't have any other cards. so, if anyone after mr. cohen is interested in speaking, you can just go ahead and line up. good afternoon, supervisors. tim cohen on behalf of the housing action coalition. i'd like to support the proposed legislation for new housing product efficiency dwelling units with one important exception. we have said repeatedly that edus are a logical necessary response for badly needed new housing in an extremely expensive housing market. edus have long been common in other countries and are now starting to appear in other u.s. cities. they make perfect sense for a dense land constrained city like ours. unfortunately, the proposal is seriously undermined by the idea of a 375-unit cap on
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market rate edus. it's poor public policy for two reasons. first, while hack could in principle support a threshold that would trigger planning department review, it is simply not possible what could be understood from such a very, very small sample size which is really 1/10 of 1% of the city's housing stock. what conclusions would planning staff be able to reach by studying 375 units? we dispute that that's a statistically valid sample. second, the 375 unit cap sends exactly the wrong message to the market rate builders and lenders. a cap this small conveys in a fairly direct way the city does not support this type of housing, may soon close the window on it, and investors should proceed at their own peril. more generally this hyper cautious approach to new housing while common in san francisco is frustrating to our members. it is yet another example of the contradiction between the values we espouse and the
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policies we adopt. while as a city we claim to support housing affordability, especially for the work force and middle class families who have a long-standing tendency to adopt policies that actually result in making housing scarce and expensive, never more so than today. in conclusion, we think this is a good idea. it's long-overdue and should move forward, but we have great concerns how this cap is going to be interpreted. thank you. >> next speaker. good afternoon, supervisors. i live in district 6. i really like the area i live in because it's close to a lot of parks in the city i need to go to, especially city hall to come see y'all. and i feel like, well, since it's south of market, i'm throwing the idea out there. i know you may think it's kind of silly for me to say this. but since it's going to be south of market, why don't you utilize that building on the corner of sixth and howard with all those little things on that
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side? you know, especially since this is going to be experimental, right? so, you know, you have a lot of old buildings anyway. just renovate that since they say it's going to cost a lot of money to do anything with that building anyway. so, sixth and howard that is an up and coming area because they're putting a police station. they have a subway. it's close to end up. it's close to -- what is that grocery store down there, whole foods or whatever it is. so, it's a very up and coming area. so, that money could be spent since it's experimental units, and the s-r-os, i don't see a difference in s-r-o and that except you have to have an id to go in an s-r-o. it's no different than an sro and what you're talking b. so, it's just an idea i'm throwing at y'all because it could be a good building, you know. thanks. >> thank you very much. next speaker.
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good afternoon, members of the board. peter cohan, council community housing organization. just here to support the compromise measures that's come forward. thanks, supervisor wiener, for working with the housing committee and other members of the board. it was refreshing to see the planning commission strongly support this measured approach last thursday. so, let's see how it comes out. this is an experimental new typology of housing, if you will. the importance will be to learn from what comes out of this first, if you will, pilot phase so the reporting requirements will tell us a lot. and we'll be very informative to the next steps going forward. that's feedback loop is something we want to give you detailed input on. but what's come out from this long process is now before you and the full board is a good compromise. thanks very much. >> thank you, mr. cohen. good afternoon, supervisors. congratulations, supervisor
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mar, for your brilliant reelection. and thank you, supervisor wiener, for bringing this up. as tim cohen said a little while ag i am concerned also. i do work a lot with the construction industry. i'm concerned if we only allow 375 units to be built, it ain't gonna happen because people -- bankers might say, you know what, this is great, but what's going to happen after this? [speaker not understood]. i'd like to say go forward but i think we really should think about expanding it. thank you. >> thank you. is there any additional public comment? seeing none, mr. chairman, may we close public comment? >> yes, public comment is closed. >> i want to thank everyone who came out today. i really want to particularly thank sarah short and also gail gilman from community housing partnership who wasn't here today who were very, very deeply involved in the negotiations and were really
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good negotiating partners in trying to work out this compromise. i also want to again thank president chiu who was also very supportive and helpful in helping all of us move to this process. i just had a couple final points. first of all, you know, i think we all -- a lot of people have it in our heads we would love for everyone to live in a single-family home or some really big spacious flat. and unfortunately that's not the reality of 2012 san francisco. very few people who are not fortunate enough to have bought or rented a large place a long time ago can afford to do that. it's just not an economic reality in san francisco and we need to be housing everyone, not just the people who are lucky enough to be able to afford or to have spent a